Blade Runner 2049

… for Xbox and Playstation

I t is still raining in Los Angeles. That’s a useful piece of information, actually. I mean, that’s how you can tell this is a piece of fiction. After all, it never rains in El Lay. Not naturally, at least. In the Blade Runner world, however, that’s pretty much all it does.   Oooooo, symbolism.

The new batch of Replicants [read: cyber humans] have arrived and their main job seems to be eliminating the old batch of Replicants. This seems a tad counterproductive on the evolutionary scale, I mean imagine if the sole purpose of modern humans was to eliminate all evidence of their genetic ancestors … hmmm, I guess I don’t have to imagine too hard in the Bible Belt. Anyhoo, one of the premiere advanced tools for this extraction/elimination procedure is K (Ryan Gosling). K’s full name is some sort of UPC symbol, but it gets shortened to “K” so that the audience can be reminded of Men in Black.

After K takes out Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, “he” finds evidence that an old model Replicant has given birth. A Replicant had a baby? If you were worried this tale was rooted in non-fiction or metaphorical, the fear went out the voice-activated sliding door entirely within this moment. K is LAPD, specifically a Blade Runner, just like Harrison Ford thirty-five years ago, and this means his job is, just like Harrison Ford’s thirty-five years ago, to hunt down and eliminate Replicants until a bigger mystery comes along and then you can forget all about “orders.” And this is quite a mystery, huh? Who was the mother? And where is this twenty-eight-year-old baby? Say … isn’t K exactly twenty-eight years old?

One thing to really love about Blade Runner 2049 is an unstated hierarchy among non-humans. Old model Replicants have thoughts and feelings, but they need to go; the new models are superior. And then there is K’s semi-holographic self-adapting girlfriend (Ana de Armas). She has thoughts and feelings, too, but somehow being non-corporeal 24/7 is a big invitation to expendability. For the most part, this film is 163 minutes of Ryan Gosling and his holographic flux buddy, which may or may not influence your decision to see it.

It took some doing to make a sequel as confusing as the original Blade Runner, but Denis Villenueve proved equal to the task. Much more than the first, Blade Runner 2049 is a study of perception and reality. I can’t ever hate a film that demands to be pieced together after you’ve finished watching it, but, let’s face it, you have to piece it together after you’ve finished watching it. Why didn’t police chief Robin Wright suspend K? Why did they kidnap Harrison Ford? What exactly was pinball-eyed Jared Leto’s role in all this?

I came into Blade Runner 2049 wondering what is the record number of years between sequels? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?  The answer is Bambi (1942) to Bambi II (2006), a 64-year period that taunts and humiliates the measly thirty-five years in between Blade Runner films. You’ll find a strong majority of films which are 20+ year removed sequels are godawful. Titles include The Rage: Carrie II, Return to Oz, and The Wicker Tree. Blade Runner 2049 is probably the best among them. That said, the original Blade Runner is one of the most overrated films in modern movie history. You heard me. The original was a creepy, dreary affair of Harrison Ford with a terrible haircut constantly battling evil robots against a rain-soaked backdrop of blue neon. At the time, Ford had freshly invented two of the greatest icons in movie history and Ridley Scott had recently directed arguably the scariest movie of all time. We wanted to love Blade Runner, so we did. Until this very sequel, however, the only true legacy Blade Runner had was the fact that the director and the editors had a difference of opinion. Several, it would seem. IMHO, this is the superior film, but that doesn’t make it a superior film, ifyouknowwhatI’msayin’.

♪My new Ford
Mm, new Ford
Mm, young Ford

I really want to see you
Really want to endure you
Really must tolerate, Ford
But this film’s so long, new Ford

I really want to sit through
I really want to stick like glue
Really want to waste a day, Ford
Cause this film goes on so long, new Ford♫

Rated R, 163 Minutes
Director: Denis Villenueve
Writer: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green
Genre: Humpty Dumpty 2049
Type of being most likely to enjoy this film: Fans of the original
Type of being least likely to enjoy this film: The easily addled

♪ Parody Inspired by “My Sweet Lord”

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